The Travel Ban, Parran Hall, Youth Cinema Project

July 3, 2018

The Supreme Court ruled last week in favor of the Trump Administration’s travel ban barring immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. In a 5-4 opinion, the court ruled that the ban falls within the President’s authority, and emphasized that the ban is not “motivated by anti-religious sentiments toward Muslims,” rather it serves to protect the U.S. from immigrants who are either not vetted or poorly vetted by their home countries. Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued a dissent arguing otherwise: “[The Court’s decision] leaves undisturbed a policy first advertised openly and unequivocally as a ‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States’ because the policy now masquerades behind a façade of national-security concerns.” Colleges and Universities from across the country are also expressing concern about the decision. Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities, says, “…these students and scholars provide countless intellectual, cultural and scientific contributions—not just to universities, but to our country as a whole.” And according to Dr. Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education, “…we fear this broadly written prohibition will have a long-term impact on our standing as a global leader and hamper our education and research enterprise and the overall U.S. economy.”

Colleges and Universities Express Concerns Over Travel Ban Ruling, by Walter Hudson of Diverse


The University of Pittsburgh is urging the board of trustees to change the problematic name of its public health building following a petition from graduate students. Parran Hall’s namesake derives from Thomas Parran Jr., the former U.S. Surgeon General responsible for overseeing the Tuskegee study—which withheld information from Black men with syphilis—and a similar study in Guatemala, “two research projects that are today widely seen as violating the norms of informed consent.” After the petition rebuked the university for “[dedicating] a position of reverence to someone who had a hand in such cruel and unethical research and medical conduct,” the university formed a panel to research Parran’s involvement in these studies further. In response to its findings, Chancellor Patrick Gallagher approved the building name change and noted that Dr. Parran’s work was “fundamentally at odds with the university’s core values.”

Ending Honor for Disgraced Scientist, by Scott Jaschik of Inside Higher Ed


Thanks to the social media campaign #OscarsSoWhite, which now picks up around Oscar season on an annual basis, more and more people are looking for solutions to the lack of diversity in Hollywood. One of those people is Rafael Agustin. He started Youth Cinema Project, a program that gives students of color comprehensive filmmaking experience so they are competitive in the industry. Agustin and his team believe the program is making it harder for industry gatekeepers to make excuses for not hiring more people of color. The students are responsible for every aspect of making their films, which their middle and high school teachers point out has led to higher reading and writing proficiency, school engagement, and a sense of “social and emotional empowerment in the classroom” because students are “writing and telling their own personal stories.” One student, Anali Cabrera, whose film was featured at the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival, discusses the value of the program: “Not only do you build up your resume as you’re working on different films and projects, but they’re also giving you personal advice as college student alumni or workers within the film industry.”

To Answer Hollywood’s Diversity Problem, California Program Hands Kids The Camera, by Anjuli Sastry of NPR